Australia’s child support system has been overhauled after a review into the way it works and what it means for families.
The changes come as the Federal Government tries to curb the number of families in debt.
What is child support?
Child support payments are calculated by a family court judge based on the number and type of children the person is supporting.
The amount owed varies between parents and can be as high as $150,000.
Why is this review necessary?
The Federal Government is reviewing the way child support is calculated and will also review how much families should be paying.
Can parents and children be separated?
There is no set maximum number of children a parent can support.
However, some families will require a judge to set aside the amount owed if the person can no longer support the children.
Who is eligible for support?
Child support orders are issued to families when they are charged with a number of charges, including unpaid wages, debts or property offences.
How much do child support orders cost?
The Federal Family Support Program, or FFSP, is the main payment method families use to get child support payments.
The FFSPs cost about $1,200 to issue and about $50 for each child.
The amount is based on two factors.
First, a parent’s income, and second, the level of support owed to the child.
The first factor is based upon a family’s income.
A family of two earning $100,000 could receive up to $30 a day in child support.
If a family has two children aged under 6 and an adult with no earnings, a family could receive $60 a day, depending on the age of the children and the family’s incomes.
When the judge makes the determination about the amount of child support owed, the family can choose to either accept the lower amount or to contest the lower payment.
The court will consider the amount agreed upon by both parties, but if the judge is satisfied there is not a clear amount of support, the judge will award the higher amount.
If the child supports the higher order, the court can then decide if it should be reduced or suspended.
A suspension can be based on a specific reason, such as when a parent fails to pay the higher support order, or if the child is no longer able to pay.
If a parent is unable to pay, the child may have to be put into care or other care.
Should parents and kids be separated or separated families be able to apply for support to get separated?
Parents can apply for child support in Family Court if they want to separate from their children or children to their parents.
Will there be more court cases?
There are a number more cases being heard in Family Courts across the country each year.
The courts are not as strict as they used to be and there are more cases going on now, including ones involving parents who are unable to afford child support, as well as children whose parents are also in debt, such in cases where one parent is unemployed or is in a relationship with a debt collector.
There is also an increase in child protection cases and the number has doubled in the past year, from 3,000 to 11,000 cases each year, according to the Department of Family and Community Services.
The number of family courts is also expected to increase by about 10 per cent over the next three years, up from 4,000 in 2016.
What can I do if I can’t pay?
Parents and children can appeal the order in Family court.
A judge can make an order for a child to be separated, or to pay a lower amount, but the order can only be appealed if both parents agree.
The child can also be awarded the lower order if they have made reasonable efforts to get the order changed, or have done their best to help the other parent pay.
The amount a parent has to pay can be affected by the type of child or the type and extent of the support owed.
The more a parent owes, the higher the amount the child will be entitled to.
If the parent has already been ordered to pay an amount, the order will automatically increase that amount to meet the new amount.
The new amount will be less than the amount that was originally agreed.
Does the child have to pay?
A child who has already made reasonable effort to get a child support order changed can appeal in Family courts.
The parent who has previously been ordered a child supports can appeal again in Family or Community Court.
If the parent does not pay, or does not meet the child support obligation, the parent may be able go to court to get their money back.
If they do not pay enough, they may be fined or even face court action.
What can parents and their children do if their child doesn’t pay their child support and they need to move?
If a child cannot pay child support or is being asked to pay